Postgraduate research project

Artificial Optical Nervous System

Competition funded View fees and funding
Type of degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Entry requirements
2:1 honours degree View full entry requirements
Faculty graduate school
Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences
Closing date

About the project

Studying mechanical properties of large, complex structures such as a space launch vehicles or Earth’s crust relies on a large array of sophisticated and often, expensive sensors. Due to budget constraints, the number of sensing nodes deployed in such projects are limited to a few hundred which limits the scale and scope of these studies.

This project aims to establish a new class of sensing system that is capable of mapping strain distribution at thousands of points using a single strand of optical fibre thinner than a human hair. When placed on or inside a structure such as the airframe of an aircraft, optical fibres act as artificial nerves, transmitting valuable information about the condition of the structure to the interrogating unit that acts as a brain.

The new system, will be called High-resolution Ultra-fast Distributed Sensor (HUDS), allows static and dynamic strain measurement at +50,000 sensing points with 2cm spatial resolution and at a sampling rate as high as 100,000 samples per second at each sensing point. The ability of HUDS to provide a high-resolution map of strain distribution at tens of thousands of points along a fibre opens up a wide range of scientific and engineering disciplines such as Civil Engineering, Seismology, Mechanical Engineering, Ship Sciences, and High-energy Particle Physics, to name a few.